Every day is a good day
A selection of 18 images out of a 30
Mount Fuji seems immutable. Yet it gets smaller every year. This change is not visible to the naked eye. Observing the unobservable was at the origin of this project. Realizing it revealed many questions.
For more than two years, to the rhythm of an old Sino-Japanese calendar, I photographed this Shinto divinity with a large format camera.Initially inspired by the Landscape Observatories, this regular journey, repeated in a formal manner, became a ritual.
This work is a reflection on the photographic medium and its history, an expression of Zen spirituality as well as an ecological questioning of our relationship with the environment. Continuing with wabi-sabi, this volcano which has been represented and romanticized countless times, is presented with sobriety and simplicity. The imperfection of the moment is expressed and registered on the film level. The viewer is invited, through this study of a landscape, to contemplate the seasons and the ephemeral.
“Every second Monday of the month, I visit him, who has become a friend of sorts. It's five in the morning when I wake up. I had prepared my bag the day before, but I still check that I have all my equipment. I drink a glass of water. When I leave my house, it is 5:20 a.m.
I take the metro first, then a train, a second, a third, then a bus... There is still a good half hour of walking before arriving at our destination. Here I am in a parking lot, facing steps carved into the mountain. It’s nine o’clock, I finally see the footbridge from where I take my photograph. I now set up my tripod, place my camera on it, dive under the veil and start focusing.
Here I am again ready to take a portrait of Mount Fuji.”
“Every day is a good day” was a teaching passed on by my tea master at the beginning of practicing the tea way. This is a thought from the monk Yunmen Wenyan that came to him one very hot day when a passerby asked him why he was engaging in a strenuous activity instead of resting. The monk replied that there was no better time to carry out his task.
“The decisive moment” comes when I am ready, not letting, as much as possible, my aesthetic appreciation influence the image. I performed these rituals as a performance, capturing only one image per season, whether the mountain was visible or behind thick fog. These photographs convey the idea of being content, in everyday life, with life as it is and not dwelling on the uncontrollable. The obsession with “good” weather prevents us from seeing the necessity of rain. It is the relationship with our environment that is thus questioned.
Here, the mountain questions the place we decide to take in the world. Each image has a dual role. It is the proof and the culmination of what has become a personal pilgrimage.
This work is a possible answer to the question: how to make photography a spiritual act? This question leads us to reflect on the profound nature of this medium born in an industrial context and detached from religion. This project explores how photography can express ideas that inspire reflection, meditation and even perhaps, a tool towards enlightenment.